90.5 WESA's Essential Pittsburgh

Essential Pittsburgh airs weekdays from noon to 1 p.m. and is repeated at 8 p.m.
Paul Guggenheimer

Essential Pittsburgh is a locally produced program from 90.5 WESA dedicated to developing a deep, ongoing exploration of critical issues affecting Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, as well as featuring community leaders and newsmakers in the arts, sciences, technology, business, healthcare, government and education.

  • Call (412) 246-2002 from noon to 1 p.m. weekdays to participate in the discussion.
  • Dial (412) 256-8783 to leave a question or comment before or after the show.
  • Follow #EPLive on Twitter or tweet your question to @esspgh.
  • Continue the conversation on our station Facebook page.
  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
  • What stories are we missing? Send your thoughts to esspgh@wesa.fm 
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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

The French Connection: What France is Learning From Pittsburgh's Economy

Ambassador François Delattre recently addressed the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh
Credit French Embassy in the U.S.

“The keys of success are innovation and entrepreneurship.” François Delattre, French ambassador to the United States, discusses what he’s learned from Pittsburgh when it comes to reinvention after industrial decline and new opportunities for a Franco-American partnership.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

The Pittsburgh Opera Turns 75

Looking forward to the 75th year of opera in Pittsburgh
Credit Pittsburgh Opera

This year, the Pittsburgh Opera will celebrate its 75th season. 90.5 WESA Senior News Editor Mark Nootbaar, talks with Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn about the upcoming season and their Diamond Jubilee.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

The New Girl in Town on Eco-Friendly Traveling

The Hotel Felix is a Silver LEED Certified boutique hotel in downtown Chicago
Credit Charles & Hudson / Flickr

From buildings to household products we're finding more and more ways to be environmentally conscious. So why not extend our sustainable lifestyles to our vacations?  Travel contributor Elaine Labalme tells us how we can apply eco-friendly awareness to our travels. 

Take a look at some green travel options:

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Watergate: Promoting a Legacy With a Fair-Minded Approach

President Nixon with edited transcripts of White House tape conversations during a broadcast of his address to the Nation in 1974.
Credit Wikipedia

The word Watergate carries so many powerful connotations in American culture. It describes a place, a crime, a cover-up, legal and congressional investigations...So when dedicating a place of honor to a dignitary like Richard Nixon, how do you provide a balanced representation? Tim Naftali, former director of the Richard M. Nixon Library and Museum talks about being tasked with producing a fair-minded representation of Nixon and the Watergate scandal. And Alexander Butterfield, is the deputy assistant to President Nixon, who told investigators that the president had been taping conversations. He talks about what it was like to provide the revelation that changed the trajectory of the Watergate affair. Both gentlemen are panelists for a University of Pittsburgh lecture titled Watergate: Third-Rate Burglary or Historical Turning Point? Catch a live stream of the talk on March 28th at 7:30pm

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

The Book of Mormon

Mark Evans plays Elder Price in the Book of Mormon
Credit Twitter

Everywhere it goes, the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon is sold out. Pittsburgh is no exception. We sit down with Mark Evans, one of the stars of the touring show to talk about the themes of this controversial play and getting into character.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

The Hubris of Power

Since his 2008 political scandal, Eliot Spitzer has had a strong media career. What conditions make political corruption so common? And how easily can powerful people rebound from their mistakes?
Credit Wikipedia

  Why do we continue to see people in powerful positions behaving badly? Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? We'll post this question to  Bob Oltmanns, President of OPR Group, LLC, an independent public relations consultancy and Joseph Sabino Mistick an associate professor at Duquesne University School of Law.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

President Taft at Rodef Shalom

President Taft visiting Rodef Shalom Temple in 1909
Credit Wikimedia

  On May 29, 1909, a Shabbat, President William Howard Taft became the first American President to speak  from the Bimah of a Jewish Congregation while in office. The Rodef Shalom Congregation, in Pittsburgh played host to the touring President. Archivist Martha Berg joins us to talk about Taft's visit to Pittsburgh and the importance of his speech.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Pop City Innovation News

Pop City innovation reporter Debra Smit
Credit Pop City Media

  Each week, the e-zine Pop City publishes stories of Pittsburgh’s newest innovations, startups and more. Pop City Tech and Innovation reporter Debra Smit joins us now for a look at Pittsburgh’s innovation news. Could Pittsburgh become a hub for "big data?"

Speaking Volumes
9:00 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Patricia Harman

Patricia Harman, CNM
Credit Bob Kosturko

As the popular British drama "Call the Midwife" returns for a second season on PBS, Morgantown-based author and certified nurse-midwife Patricia Harman offers recommendations for readers with an interest in the practice. Hear her discussion with 90.5 WESA Morning Edition host Josh Raulerson.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Senator Casey on the Budget All-Nighter

Unpacking the budget with Bob Casey
Credit Senator Bob Casey

Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Bob Casey discusses the 3.7 trillion dollar budget passed by the Senate in the wee hours of the morning Saturday. It's the first budget the senate has passed in four years. We also discuss proposed changes to the electoral voting process.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage Argued Before Supreme Court

Examining the legal arguments and ramifications of two of this week's cases before the Supreme Court
Credit Mark Fischer / Flickr

Two cases regarding same-sex marriage are being argued before the US Supreme Court this week. The futures of the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 will be decided in June. University of Pittsburgh Law School Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Anthony C. Infanti weighs in on the arguments. And we'll talk about the potential impact on same sex partnerships in PA with Gary Van Horn, Board President of the Delta Foundation, sponsors of Pittsburgh Pride.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Fast Growing Occupations

Business contributor Rebecca Harris is Director of Chatham University's Center for Women's Entrepreneurship
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

If you have the right education or training you may be well positioned for success in this growing job market. Business contributor Rebecca Harris looks at some of the fastest growing occupations.

Check out Rebecca's links for the fastest growing occupations.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
11:03 am
Mon March 25, 2013

City Council Update with Noah Brode

Noah Brode is City Council reporter for 90.5 WESA
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  90.5 WESA reporter Noah Brode gives us a weekly update on funding approval for Pittsburgh's Bike Share program. And we'll discuss plans for the first steps in the redevelopment of the Civic Arena.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

The High Cost of Higher Education

How can an early understanding of personal finance change the face of student debt?
Credit Katz School of Business / University of Pittsburgh

  Student loans are now second to mortgages when it comes to personal debt.  The average PA college student amasses $27,500 worth of debt. As college acceptance letters come in the mail, what do students need to consider when planning for their financial future? University of Pittsburgh Business Professor Jay Sukits joins us to talk about student financial planning and debt.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

What About Bob?

Bob Dvorchak writes for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and the blog Sports N'at
Credit Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

  Our sports guy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus Bob Dvorchak joins us to preview Cinderella Robert Morris University's second round game in the NIT, discuss Pitt's early exit from the NCAA tourney and the Penguins' winning streak.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Chief Nate Harper Indictment

United States Attorney for Western District of Pennsylvania David Hickton announces a five-count indictment against former Pittsburgh Police Chief Nathan Harper
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

  A federal grand jury, Friday indicted former Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper on charges of failure to file tax returns and diverting public money for his own use. Pittsburgh Tribune Review reporter Bobby Kerlik joins us to talk about the latest details of the case.

Essential Pittsburgh
6:19 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

The Globetrotter Diaries

Michael Clinton is an author as well as President, Marketing Publishing Director for Hearst Magazines
Credit Hearst Corporation

  Michael Clinton is the president of marketing and publishing for Hearst magazines. The Pittsburgh native is a seasoned world traveler. He'll talk to our travel contributor Elaine Labalme about his latest book The Globetrotter Diaries: Tales, Tips and Tactics for Traveling the 7 Continents and how you can be a better traveler.

Essential Pittsburgh
5:33 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

The Future of the Catholic Church with Bishop Zubik

David Zubik has been the Pittsburgh Catholic Bishop since 2007.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

The Catholic Church is in a state of change. With a new Pope comes a fresh perspective. So what is the potential future for the Roman Catholic Church? What's the future of the church in Pittsburgh? Bishop David Zubik of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh shares his perspective.

What questions do you have about the state of the Catholic Church and its future?

Essential Pittsburgh
4:30 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

The New Girl in Town on Traveling Alone

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme explains why "lonely can be sweet" when traveling
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

It's been said, "He travels fastest, who travels alone" as long as you know all of the good spots to visit.  This week our travel contributor Elaine Labalme discusses the joys of going solo when it comes to traveling.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

A March Madness Upset

RMU basketball coach, Andy Toole speaks to the press after a shocking win over the University of Kentucky.
Credit Helen Wigger / WESA

Tuesday night, in an unlikely National Invitational Tournament first round game, tiny Robert Morris University upset the defending NCAA champion, the Kentucky Wildcats. Robert Morris University Coach Andy Toole joins us to talk about the victory.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

A Talk With The President of NOW

Members of N.O.W. at an Equal Rights Amendment rally
Credit National Organization for Women


Terry O’Neill, the President of the National Organization for Women (NOW) came to Pittsburgh this week for a talk at CCAC titled Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She joins us to talk about women in STEM, the Equal Rights Amendment and the economy.

Economy & Business
9:00 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Pittsburgh Sues UPMC

The City of Pittsburgh has started a legal battle with UPMC over nonprofit status
Credit Emily Farah / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has announced the city’s plans to file legal challenges to UPMC’s tax exemptions. We'll get reaction from Karen Shastri, Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:44 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Bike Sharing Program in Pittsburgh's Future

In Washington D.C. you can pay as you go to bike anywhere. This could be on the way for Pittsburgh.
Credit Carlos Reis

Could a bike sharing program allow the Steel City to follow in the bike tracks of Washington, D.C. and London? We'll find out when we talk with Scott Bricker, Executive Director of Bike Pittsburgh.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:34 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Hedrick Smith: Who Stole the American Dream?

Journalist, Hedrick Smith examines how historic policy changes have impacted the American middle class.
Credit Hedrick Smith

  Hedrick Smith is the Pulitzer Prize winning former reporter with the NY Times, Emmy Award winning reporter/producer for PBS’s Frontline. In his new book Who Stole the American Dream, the author talks with 90.5 WESA reporter Kevin Gavin about how the dream has been dismantled and we became two Americas.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:10 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

The Capitol Steps: 30 Years of Satire

Elaina Newport is a founding member of the Capitol Steps
Credit Capitol Steps

  The political performers known as The Capitol Steps, are a singing troupe that began with a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize the government that employed them. Collectively, they’re said to represent 18 Congressional offices and 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience. This week, members of the Capitol Steps are coming to town to perform for the Traffic Club of Pittsburgh. We'll talk with Elaina Newport, a founding member and writer who worked in the Senate as a legislative aid.

Watch the Capitol Steps' 30 Years of Satire video

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Lean In: Can Women Really Have It All?

Our Business Contributor, Rebecca Harris is the Director of Chatham University's Center for Women's Entrepreneurship
Credit Rebecca Harris / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has been on a media blitz since the release of her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Our business contributor Rebecca Harris takes a look at the controversy surrounding Sheryl Sandberg. Can all women have it all? Or just the privileged?

Speaking Volumes
9:00 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Kate Dewey

Forbes Fund President Kate Dewey
Credit Vantagen

As President of the Forbes Funds, Kate Dewey is interested in how nonprofits can adapt along with changing technology. She talks with 90.5 WESA host, Josh Raulerson about some of her favorite reading picks, including Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology by local authors Peter Lucas, Joe Ballay & Mickey McManus of Maya Design.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

How Can Pittsburgh Be More Liveable?

Is Pittsburgh really the most livable city for everyone?
Credit Van Corey / Flickr

Pittsburgh has been on a number of lists praising its livability. However, a new regional study titled Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow, finds city residents have a number of concerns when it comes to the quality of life. We'll discuss those concerns with Pittsburgh Quarterly publisher Doug Heuck and reporter Jeffery Fraser.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Seton Hill in Mourning

Seton Hill University administration building located in Greensburg, PA
Credit Irteagle102704 / Wikipedia

The Seton Hill women's lacrosse team continues to mourn the loss of head coach Kristina Quigley who died in a bus crash Saturday while traveling with her team. With wounds on the campus still fresh, Penn Live.com and Patriot News newspaper writer John Luciew has been covering the story and joins us to talk about the mood on campus.

Essential Pittsburgh
1:39 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Breaking Down the Steubenville Verdict

David Harris teaches criminal law at the University of Pittsburgh Law School.
Credit University of Pittsburgh Law School

On Sunday, a verdict was announced in the rape case of two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio. University of Pittsburgh law professor, David Harris breaks down the details of the verdict and the role of social media in the case.

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